Body: Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Appointing Department: Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy
Sectors: Business, Finance & Skills, Science & Technology
Location: Abingdon, Oxfordshire
Skills required: Business / Commercial, Communication / Media / Marketing
Number of Vacancies: 1
Remuneration: The rate for the Chair is £25,000 a year. Travel and other reasonable expenses will be paid in accordance with the UKAEA’s Conditions of Employment. There is no entitlement to pension, holiday pay, sick pay etc.
Time Requirements: 25 days a year will be required, The Board normally meets five to six times a year. The Chair also attends the Remuneration Committee and Audit Committee, which meet four times a year, with three of the four meetings being held on the same day as, or the day before, Board meetings.


An announcement has been made on the outcome of this appointment.

Professor David Gann CBE is appointed as new Chair of the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA).

Date: 19/07/2018

View Announcement

Campaign Timeline

  • Competition Launched


  • Closed for Applications

    06/04/2018 at 12:00

  • Panel Sift


  • Final Interview Date


  • Announcement


This appointment was re-opened on 05/03/2018.


Assessment Panel

Vacancy Description

The Organisation:

The UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA) is one of the world’s leading research organisations supporting the development of fusion energy. Its primary mission is to lead the commercial development of fusion power and related technology and position the UK as a leader in sustainable nuclear energy.  Fusion research is managed at the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy (CCFE).

The Board have recently agreed 5 goals in support of this mission:

Goal 1: Maintain the UK position as a world leader in fusion research

Goal 2: Realise jobs and upskilling through growth in UK industry

Goal 3: Grow the UK’s nuclear materials and technology capability

Goal 4: Design the first fusion power plant

Goal 5: Develop Harwell and Culham sites as Science and Innovation Centres

See UKAEA Mission & Goals booklet (

UKAEA has 1180 staff and agency supplied workers, including world-leading scientists and engineers, fostering close links with international partners, industry and academic institutions; it also supports the development of the Culham Science Centre and Harwell science, innovation, technology and business campus.  It is a Non-Departmental Public Body sponsored by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

The ongoing activities of UKAEA include:

  • Operating the Joint European Torus (JET), Europe’s premier fusion facility, under a contract with the European Commission;
  • Managing the UK fusion research programme, including a major upgrade to the Mega Amp Spherical Tokamak (MAST) device, due to start operations in late 2017. This programme is funded by a new 5-year grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC);
  • Development of new facilities on the Culham site, including the recently completed RACE (Remote Handling in Challenging Environments, MRF (Materials Research Facility) and OAS (Oxfordshire Advanced Skills apprentice training centre) and other facilities. These new facilities are crucial to supporting the breadth of research areas necessary to design fusion reactors, including plasma physics, fusion technology, materials science, tritium capability and robotic maintenance
  • Ownership and management of the Culham Science Centre, freehold ownership of most of the Harwell campus and a share in the joint venture (with STFC and a private sector partner) to continue the development of the Harwell campus as a vibrant science, innovation, technology and business campus;
  • A business development programme, in both fusion and beyond including areas such as materials, neutronics, tritium handling, advanced computing and modelling, as well as work for International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) (see below); and
  • Management of historic liabilities, and of UKAEA’s pension schemesITER is a global scientific collaboration to prove the feasibility of energy from fusion on an industrial scale. Construction of the ITER facility is underway in the south of France. Europe’s domestic agency for ITER procurement, Fusion for Energy, allocates grants and contracts to fusion laboratories and industry to complete the research and design for specialist ITER systems and construction of major components and UKAEA, together with UK industry, has been successful in winning several of these grants or contracts.

An overall budget of around £100m, with income primarily received through Euratom UKAEA currently manages and EPSRC programme funding, with additional capital funding from Government.

The Role:


The Chair, with the Chief Executive and the Non-executive Directors, is responsible for:

  • Contributing to and overseeing UKAEA’s strategy for discharging its objectives, within the overall framework of Government policy;
  • Monitoring the forward work programme and effective execution of the Board’s decisions through the Chief Executive;
  • Ensuring the effective overall operation and governance of UKAEA, encouraging high standards of propriety, and developing and maintaining the staff capabilities and resources to deliver UKAEA’s mission.
  • Supporting the Executive Team in securing sustainable funding, from UK, European and potentially other overseas sources, to support UKAEA’s work; and
  • Being a strong advocate for the UKAEA to key stakeholders, the public and representing it at various events.
  • Supporting the CEO in dealings with ministers, senior officials, European and UK funders and other stakeholders.The Chair position also carries specific responsibility to chair the board meetings, strategic planning meetings and other ad hoc preparatory meetings relating to board matters. Specifically, to:
  • Ensure that future strategies for the UKAEA are in place, moving towards development of nuclear fusion and associated technologies;
  • Ensure that the Executive establishes the programmes and projects to deliver against these strategies;
  • Ensure that the Board takes appropriate action in supporting the Executive in its activities;
  • Ensure that the UKAEA’s governance and assurance regimes are fit for purpose, are consistent with ‘Managing Public Money’ and associated government guidance, and continue to provide the Board with the assurance it requires;
  • Represent the UKAEA in the UK and occasionally abroad, ensuring that stakeholders in governments, industry and academia etc. are aware of the UKAEA and its strategies; and
  • Annually review the performance of individual board members and work with BEIS to plan for board vacancies.

Person Specification

The Person Specification

We are seeking candidates with the ability to lead a substantial and complex organisation with experience of one or more of the following national and/ or international areas:


  • Technology-based commercial business
  • Universities and other leading scientific research establishments
  • Scientific/technology research funding organisation
  • Science/ energy policy role in government
  • Technology commercialisation/ transfer role Additional essential criteria:
  • Demonstrate the ability to operate at senior management or non-executive director level in a scientific/technology-based organisation.
  • Ability to work at a senior level with the public-sector, including the ability to broker public-private partnerships in Research and Development.
  • Ability to exercise judgement across a range of policy areas and strategic management issues.
  • Good existing networks of contacts within the technology/research sector and credibility with funding providers/ or the ability to establish this credibility.
  • Strong interest in the UKAEA’s areas of research and technology. Detailed knowledge of these is not essential
  • Strong commitment to promoting diversity

Desirable criteria:

  • Physical sciences /engineering background
  • Understanding of financial planning and risk management, particularly relating to programme assurance

Awareness of the public-sector funding environment for science and technology

Additional Information

  • SC security clearance will be required.
  • Most Board and Committee meetings are held at the UKAEA’s headquarters at Culham, Abingdon, Oxon.
  • The appointment is for a three- year fixed term with the possibility of an extension.

How to Apply

The recruitment process is being undertaken by Odgers Berndtson on behalf of BEIS. If you wish to apply for this position, please supply the following:


  • A comprehensive CV setting out your career history, with responsibilities and achievements.
  • A covering letter (maximum two sides) highlighting your suitability and setting out how you meet the person specification. Please note that the covering letter is an important part of your application and is as much the means by which you will be assessed as your CV.


  • Please provide details of two professional referees together with a brief statement of the capacity and over what period of time they have known you. Referees will not be contacted without your prior consent.


  • Candidate application form – Please submit with your CV and covering letter.


  • Diversity monitoring form – All candidates are also requested to complete an online Equal Opportunities Monitoring Form which will be found at the end of the application process. Your data will be stored separately from your application and will at no time be connected to you or your application. Please return to with 66406 as the subject line.


The closing date for the receipt of application is: 6th April 2018.

The preferred method of application is online at


If you are unable to apply online please email your application to

All applications will receive an automated response.


Any postal applications should be sent to the Assignment team and NOT to Response.

Government Practice


Odgers Berndtson

20 Cannon Street




If you would like an informal conversation about this role, please contact Odgers Berndtson: Simon McDonald on +44 20 7529 6359 or Laura Spurgin on +44 20 7529 1072.

Diversity-Monitoring-Form-March 18
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